Stompboxes that approximate the sounds of classic amplifiers have been all the rage recently, with companies innovating products that get closer and closer each time. Perhaps one of the most thorough models comes from a French company called Two Notes in the form of the Le Clean preamp.
The Le Clean is a dual channel tube design that can achieve the tone of various Fender amps, from Tweed to Blackface and Silverface models. Channel A provides the crystal cleans Fender is notorious for, and Channel B lets you dial in overdrive without losing any articulation.
A host of unique features are incorporated into this pedal, as well as some serious routing options including MIDI integration. There is an on-board effects loop for each pedal, so no matter what your setup these pedals can be patched in seamlessly. They also run internally at 200 volts, lending an even more realistic amplifier feel while still accepting a standard pedal connection.
While the control scheme is a bit daunting, the versatility of the Le Clean more than makes up for it. For players looking for a great pedal that can serve as a pre-amp going DI, or a solid lower gain overdrive, this pedal is spot on. If you’re looking for saturation you’ll have to pair it with another overdrive (or one of the other “not so clean” pedals in the Two Notes preamp series, like the Crunch or the Lead), but the Le Clean can complement pretty much any rig design. –Brandon Stoner